The Rails I Tote

Each of Mr. Manson’s puzzle books creates a new genre of puzzles and The Rails I Tote is no different. Each of the 45 puzzles in Rails I Tote has a wildly imaginative story on one page and a beautiful illustration on the facing page.

From the Introduction:

“Each of the pictures in this book illustrates two things, one being, of course, the tale that accompanies it. The other, hidden subject of he picture is a simple word game called a Spoonerism.

A Spoonerism results when the initial sounds of any two words are transposed, resulting in two different words. The “Parched Stork” becomes “Starched Pork”; everyone’s favorite “Peas and Carrots,” is transformed into “Keys and Parrots”; and “Legal Beverage” is changed into “Beagle Leverage.”

[...] To help you even more; the story contains a reference to the answer, and the title of the story is, likewise, a reference to the answer.”


Even though this is the lightest of Manson’s puzzle books in terms of difficulty, it is none the less a considerable challenge. The spoonerisms are not only well hidden, but are entertainingly hidden. Manson manages to connect such disperse ideas as “eating breakfast” and “an eel infested castle moat” in a single puzzle. Despite the wild imagery and surreal stories, you will over and over say to yourself, why didn’t see that before!


 - Images and quoted text copyright 1987 by Christopher Manson


The Rails I Tote is out of print but used copies can be purchased here:

[Amazon's Rails I Tote page]


5 thoughts on “The Rails I Tote

    • There are books that are like Maze in some respects. I don’t know of any others that recreate the central premise and puzzle density/style. White Raven doesn’t seem to either, and he has made a pretty extensive search, I think. There are other “solve the riddle” picture books, like Kit Williams’s Masquerade and, uh….I don’t know, I tried a lot of them, but they have always been some combination of aesthetically unappealing, unfair, and full of content that is 90-some percent irrelevant to the riddle.


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